The Original Cakerie
Issue Winter 14
We have all been there – standing in the bakery section at the local grocery store salivating over the variety of fresh desserts on display. The Original Cakerie is the creative genius behind these mouthwatering treats at popular retail and foodservice locations throughout North America, and looks to continue to bring new products to market.
Doug McFetridge and Kent Norris founded the Delta, British Columbia-based company in 1979 as a small bakery producing high-quality desserts for local restaurants in Victoria, British Columbia. “Thirty-five years later, the company is still thriving and continuing to grow,” Vice President of Sales and Marketing Doris Bitz says.
The Original Cakerie took off after establishing its first three major contracts. Those clients were British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., the Quebec restaurant chain St-Hubert and Ontario’s specialty frozen food store chain M&M Meat Shops. About 25 years ago, the company expanded its reach again as it began to offer its products in the United States. Today, the cakes are available through many major retailers throughout the United States.
The foodservice segment also provides a significant amount of business for The Original Cakerie as its desserts can be found supplementing pastry chefs’ creations throughout Canada and the U.S. “We are growing our restaurant presence by giving a very efficient solution for providing high-quality desserts that operators can custom finish to become a signature of their restaurant,” Bitz notes.
Because of its continued growth, The Original Cakerie has undergone a number of facility expansions and most recently built an additional state-of-the-art facility in London, Ontario. “The plant expansions and new facility gives us the ability to better cover the full North American market,” Bitz notes.
Today, The Original Cakerie offers more than 60 dessert flavors and a variety of products such as single-, two- and three-layer cakes, brownies and other baked goods for retailers and foodservice operators. The company uses the highest-quality ingredients in all of the desserts it produces, including dairy-fresh whipping cream, pure fruit fillings and blends of European chocolates.
“We are a scratch bakery at commercial scale,” Vice President of Operations Stuart Wilcox says. “We bring the quality and freshness of homemade desserts to all our customers. We have extremely high standards as we maintain a BRC – A rating, produce in a kosher environment and use only fresh and natural ingredients.”
The Original Cakerie continuously looks to innovate desserts for its customers because, as Bitz says, cakes are in a variety-seeking category. “Desserts are not something you buy the same of every time,” she notes. “Consumers shop with their eyes and rebuy with their mouths. If it tastes great they are going to purchase it again, but we are always looking to bring new desserts to market.”
New desserts are created under The Original Cakerie’s brand for general distribution and the company also fulfills custom orders for its customers. The company’s cakes and desserts can leave room for the customers to be creative and make the dessert their own, Bitz says. “A lot of cakes or desserts are fully finished and decorated, so that’s what it is going to look like,” she explains. “Our products can help customers create a unique experience for their guests.”
Every product is shipped frozen from The Original Cakerie’s Delta or London location and transferred to its customers’ stores via a network of in-house or third-party frozen food distributors. A focus on delivering exceptional quality is paramount. The Original Cakerie judges its desserts on two criteria: What did that product look like to the customer and how did it taste?
“We understand that in detail and how to get both those attributes consistently,” Wilcox adds. “Every cake is reviewed prior to shipment to ensure that our customers will be delighted and that their guests will have a phenomenal dessert experience.”
And how do its products manage to stay consistent and appealing to customers? Passion for the industry and the company’s products, Wilcox says. The Original Cakerie has about 600 employees, many of whom have formal training or education in baking and are emotionally attached to the products they make, which inspires them in their work and also to provide feedback.
“Our people are passionate about baking a cake or making desserts,” Wilcox says. “That’s not a normal, average production worker. That passion extends throughout the entire organization. There is nothing that can beat the feeling of someone saying they brought a cake home for a celebration and everyone asked where they could get it.”
The Original Cakerie has followed a business-to-business model since its inception and will continue to do so, but it recently turned its attention to consumer trends and developed a consumer-facing brand called Inspired by Happiness. “The intention of Inspired by Happiness is offering great-tasting products with a better-for-you product portfolio,” Bitz says.
Inspired by Happiness offers two flavors of premium gluten-free multi-layer cake, which will be available at many retailers across the United States. The brand is also launching two gluten-free snack bars, one of which is a brownie, that are geared to The Original Cakerie’s foodservice customers.
By continuing its focus to look further into consumer trends, The Original Cakerie plans to continue creating new initiatives for its customers that are on trend or ahead of the trend to drive new products in the category. “We want to be the leader to bring that new product to customers,” Bitz says. “We are a company that is excited about the future, see potential and intend to grow further.”